By Jennifer Geiger on September 14, 2012
We first saw the oddly named, stocky, little Paceman in concept guise at the 2011 Detroit auto show. It looks like the production version is on its way. The Paceman, essentially a two-door version of the Mini Cooper Countryman, will go on sale first in Europe next spring.
The seventh member of Mini’s expanding family, the Paceman is the same length as the Countryman, but it has only two doors and seats only four passengers. It’s also more squat-looking, with a lowered suspension, sloping roofline, long doors and an integrated spoiler.
The concept was powered by the same engine as the John Cooper Works version of the Cooper: a 211-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder. The production versions, at least in Europe, will use four powertrains. Base versions use a 122-hp 1.6-liter, and S versions use the same engine, tuned to make 184 hp. Europe’s two diesel versions include a 112-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter and a 143-hp 2.0-liter.
A six-speed manual transmission is standard. A six-speed automatic is optional, as is all-wheel drive. Standard on all is an auto stop/start system. Optional is a sport button that alters engine response and steering settings. Mini said a John Cooper Works version of the Paceman is in development.
Inside, the two rear seats are arranged in what Mini calls the “lounge concept.” There are two separate chairs with built-in armrests; standard sport seats are in the front.
The instrument panel is classic Mini, with a large, round central speedometer. Glossy black and chrome inner rings make it stand out from the rest of the brand’s vehicles, as do the Paceman’s redesigned air vents. The window switches also have a new home, moved to the door instead of the instrument panel.
The Paceman will go on sale in the U.K. on March 16, starting at 18,970 pounds. That’s $30,775 in U.S. currency, a lot more than the 2012 Countryman, which starts at $22,450 including destination.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer